EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.25.10

Patents Roundup: EU Patent Deform, MPEG-LA, OIN, New Zealand, and Patent Trolls

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Patents at 1:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yellow flagpoles

Summary: Remarks, analysis, and developments as told mostly by FFII and its affiliates in Europe (who also care deeply about what happened in New Zealand this week)

As indicated earlier this month, the European UPLS seemingly collapsed [1, 2], taking down with it the possibility of software patents expansion in Europe — for now. According to this long post, the zombie is not dead yet.

Then, in the early morning hours of the very last day of the summit, after endless hours of toughest negotiations, a bunch of bleary-eyed Heads of State, deprieved of sleep, will somehow find the final compromise on the EU patent reform project.

Let’s hope not.

Benjamin Henrion, the president of the FFII, remarked on it by saying that it shows the “Financial crisis of Spain as a bargaining chip for getting rid of Spanish resistance in EU patent” and Florian Müller declined to comment about it on the record (it’s kept private at his request). He did, however, make public information he has been gathering for a while by contacting MPEG-LA and other parties like Google.

One might assume that MPEG LA’s obvious desire to maximize its royalty income would practically guarantee that all significant companies infringing its patents would be pursued. But the worldwide market is huge and if you have a country that’s only medium-sized, then MPEG LA may decide for efficiency reasons to collect royalties only from the market leader. That one would face a risk of litigation if refusing to pay, but if that licensee’s competitors don’t pay because MPEG LA doesn’t go after them for the time being, then that’s an awkward situation for the licensee.

As a reminder, MPEG-LA is an NPE (patent troll) headed by a patent troll. We wrote about this subject in posts such as:

“If you saw my posting of yesterday on MPEG LA’s licensing terms,” wrote Florian Müller to us, “I guess it is an area where we may not be able to agree. We can’t agree on the DPL for now (like the DPL, although I really think you should give it a fair chance and look at it when it’s done because it could really pave the way toward abolition over the course of several years. That’s normal. But concerning codecs, PJ grossly misrepresents the facts by claiming I prefer MPEG’s stuff to WebM. I pointed out different aspects of them in different blog postings without ever saying I advocate one or the other. I left no doubt about my preference for a patent-free format but I have a “show me, I’m from Missouri” attitude about that one and indemnification would change the situation in a very positive way for me as I wrote on my blog. I don’t say MPEG LA isn’t a problem, but looking at what they charge vs. the business that licensees do it’s clearly a small problem in the field of patent licensing. Those who don’t offer licenses at all or only on unreasonable terms are far more problematic. Doing away with software patents would be the right thing to do and it would determine that there’s no cost for any codec. In the meantime I for my part do make a distinction between somewhat acceptable licensing terms and anticompetitive practices.”

Müller also pointed out that “the IDG News story on NEON’s impending EU antitrust complaint against IBM shows the usual patent holder rhetoric of “copycat” and investment in innovation. Unlike MPEG LA, that’s a patent holder who simply wants to shut out competition and nothing else.” We wrote about NEON in [1, 2].

Müller’s interests do not intersect with those of GNU/Linux, just as an important reminder. Regarding Canonical joining the Open Invention Network (OIN), Dana Blankenhorn shows Groklaw’s take on Müller but also Müller’s take on OIN [1, 2]. To quote an insightful portion:

The Founding Members direct policy, licensees can agree to put down their legal briefs, while Associate Members pay an unspecified fee and will exist somewhere in the middle.

“In mobile and in desktop we’re bringing in relationships where people provide a financial commitment, which we’re not announcing the amount, to support the evolution of OIN’s activities into these new areas,” said Bergelt.

In other words, expect a select few other companies to be invited. Perhaps as many as a half-dozen. They and the Founding Members will keep Bergelt’s 22-member staff employed.

That’s one of the issues with the OIN. There is danger that it will serve its own interests rather than just eliminate some of its own software patents. LiMo has a patents pool too by the way. It’s not necessarily helping in a world which is overwhelmingly against software patents. It feeds the software patents proponents. “Anti-free software lobbyists discuss patents on standards, all videos on Youtube,” writes Benjamin Henrion in order to show what they are doing in Europe these days. It’s quite similar to what they do in New Zealand — a subject that we covered many times this year, even in this latest post about the sad outcome. Benjamin Henrion writes to Free software advocates in New Zealand:

Hi,

You have to be aware what is the strategy of IBM and Microsoft when they try to push for the infamous “as such” provision.

A German court has recently made Microsoft FAT patentable, despite the exclusion of computer programs “as such” from the law (the EPC).

Patent judges tends to interpret this provision as “a computer program as such is a computer program on a piece of paper” and this is what is excluded. On the other side, when the program runs on the computer, it becomes patentable.

If you are interested in clarifications to bring in New Zealand, you can take inspiration from the FFII´s 10 core clarifications:

http://consultation.ffii.org/Clarifications

Separately, it’s worth highlighting this new story about non-practicing entity (NPEs). Again, NPEs are patent trolls. “ASP (anti-patent troll company) will resell patents to trolls after 12 months,” remarks on it FFII’s president. Here are some quotes:

I’ve just sat through the IPBC session titled “Getting to Grips with NPEs”. Now that was a session which generated real emotion in me, and showed how amazing us humans are at spending time and effort on things that are ultimately meaningless.

I went through a large range of emotions. I started out neutral . Here we go, just another session about trolls, trolls justifying why even trolls do social good (we help small inventors make money from their IP!-well done, good for you), lawyers arguing over technicalities (rule 11, blah, blah blah), the anti-troll lobby screaming about how unfair the system is to allow this abuse and Dan McCurdy (we’ll come back to him later) giving his troll stats.

I quickly got into irritated. Mainly as the session was dominated by American accents justifying their respective positions. Mild anger soon followed. More American accents, more justification, more self-justifying arguments.

Soon followed by seething. Vigorous agreement with Nokia (great speech, really great speech Dr Schneider) and Technicolor (ex Thomson, good “I hate trolls” speech Beatrice de Russé). I found myself wanting to applaud. C’mon the anti-troll lobby!!!There was little room for middle ground in the room. And, for me, the anti-troll camp has my lifetime vote.

[...]

Dan McCurdy is a legend in the IP world. An IBMer under Marshall Phelps, a licensing expert/jobbing consultant in Thinkfire (I’m sure I recall his profile with a dollar amount against his face for his lifetime licensing dollars generated), now AST. But how can these two statements be reconciled? Statement 1, timed at about 46 minutes in “I would be delighted to close down AST tomorrow if the NPE problem went away!!” (hooray!!), and then, at around 58 minutes in “When we buy patents in for our AST members, we commit to sell them within 12 months, and we sell them to the highest bidder, we sell to operating companies, aggregators, and….to NPEs”.

Excuse me, come again….WHAT!!! You perpetuate the problem by selling on patents, to NPE’s, who can then sue those who don’t have licenses as they aren’t your members.

Notice the presence of Marshall Phelps. That’s one heck of a troll (he builds or assembles patent portfolios, not products) who recently helped Microsoft fight against GNU/Linux and Free software, having previously helped IBM.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 3/7/2015: KDE Applications 15.04.3, Ubuntu-Flavored Compute Stick

    Links for the day



  2. Patent Lawyers and Their Firms, Still Desperate to Protect the Status Quo, Manipulate the Media

    Patent lawyers are besieged by gradual tightening of patent scope and recklessly fight back (e.g. by saturating the media) to secure their revenue sources, derived from (and at the expense of) actual scientists and true market producers



  3. Amid Controversy, Political Scrutiny and Increased Media Pressure Željko Topić and Benoît Battistelli Allegedly Cancel Today's Trip to Zagreb (Croatia) Where Topić Faces Many Criminal Charges

    The Croatian press comments on the recent declaration from the Council of Europe and Topić's not-so-sterling status in his home country, where he is wanted for alleged crimes



  4. Microsoft Gradually Embraces, Extends, Extinguishes Linux Foundation as a Foundation of GNU/Linux

    By liaising with (or hijacking) existing members of the Linux Foundation, as well as by paying the Linux Foundation, Microsoft turns the Linux Foundation into somewhat of a Windows advocacy group



  5. Microsoft India Still Lobbies and Lies About Free Software in Order to Knock Down Policy That Favours Free Software

    Microsoft continues to bully Indian politicians who merely 'dare' to prefer software that India can modify, maintain, extend, audit, etc.



  6. Patent Lawyers and Corporate Media Nervous About New Patents Barrier/Reality (Less Patents on Software and Business Methods)

    The rich and the powerful, as well as their lawyers (whose job is to protect their money and power by means of government-enforced monopoly), carry on whining after the Alice case, in which many abstract patents were essentially ruled -- by extension -- invalid



  7. Translation of Pierre-Yves Le Borgn' Speech Against EPO Management and New Parliamentarian Interventions

    More political fire targeting the EPO's management, adding up to over 100 parliamentarians by now



  8. Links 2/7/2015: KDE Plasma 5.3.2, antiX 15

    Links for the day



  9. Links 1/7/2015: OpenDaylight Lithium, OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2

    Links for the day



  10. Munich Press, Münchner Merkur, Slams the Munich-based EPO

    Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office



  11. The Shameless Campaign to Paint/Portray Free Software as Inherently Insecure, Using Brands, Logos, and Excessive, Selective Press Coverage

    Some more FUD from firms such as Sonatype, which hope to make money by making people scared of Free/libre software



  12. National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

    British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy's systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world's biggest nuclear arsenal



  13. Microsoft Keeps Shrinking

    As the era of shrink-wrapped software comes to an end so does Microsoft, whose effort to become a 'cloud' company with online operations has been miserable at best



  14. They 'R' Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation

    The problem with having Microsoft in a Linux Foundation initiative, the R Consortium



  15. Speculations About the EPO's Possible Role in DDOS Attacks

    Readers' views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it's on the 'targets' list of the EPO



  16. Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

    Links for the day



  17. Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

    Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law



  18. Google's Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let's Hope Google Continues Fighting

    SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-'protected', despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software



  19. Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

    A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well



  20. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

    Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next



  21. The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

    A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends



  22. After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)





  23. IRC Proceedings: May 31st - June 27th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  24. Links 28/6/2015: Manjaro Linux Cinnamon 0.8.13, VectorLinux 7.1

    Links for the day



  25. Williamson v. Citrix Online (at CAFC) Reinforces Alice v. CLS Bank (at SCOTUS) in Crushing Software Patents

    More patent news from the United States, again serving to indicate that software patents over there are getting weak (harder to defend in court or acquire from the patent office)



  26. Proskauer Rose LLP is Cherry-Picking Cases to Make Software Patents Seem Eligible Despite Alice v. CLS Bank

    Naming and shaming those who are trying to reshape the consensus despite a rather consistent pattern of software patents being rejected



  27. IAM Biased: How IAM 'Magazine' Glorifies Patent Stockpiling

    A look at the bias of one of the most overzealous sites for and by patent lawyers



  28. PATENT Act No Longer in the News... and That's Just Fine

    Putting the PATENT Act aside for the time being, for it has little or no impact on the really problematic patents



  29. The Latest Lies From Microsoft's PR Apparatus/Public Face, Mr. Nadella

    Having spread the outrageous lie that “Microsoft loves Linux” (whilst obviously attacking it in many ways), Microsoft's CEO (essentially Bill Gates' right-hand man) says Microsoft is “one of the biggest contributors to Linux kernel” (because of proprietary software it tries to contaminate it with while violating the terms of the GPL)



  30. Microsoft Jack (Schofield) Promotes Microsoft's Proprietary Lock-in and Calls People Who Recommend Free/Libre Software 'Trolls'

    Jack Schofield, writing for a Bill Gates-funded paper despite claiming to have retired, promotes Microsoft Office and insults all those readers who do not agree with him


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts